State Capitol Update for the Week of November 11

November 15, 2019

This is my State Capitol update for the week of November 11. If you would rather watch than read, check out the link at the bottom of the page.

Greetings from Atlanta! Believe it or not, it’s been rather chilly down here as well (they don’t react as well as us New Englanders). A colleague and I traveled to Georgia’s capital city to attend a three-day leadership conference organized by the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL). The NCSL is a bipartisan organization that provides resources for state legislators, and I value the opportunity to spend time with a smaller group from across the country, spanning the full range of political viewpoints. You learn a lot when you sit down with people and actually listen.​

National Recycling Day
Happy National Recycling Day! It may not be a holiday you had on your radar screen, but it’s worth celebrating. For the past few weeks, my colleagues and I have discussed ways we can improve the recycling process in our state. One way is to modernize the “Bottle Bill”, which would increase redemption rates for a variety of recyclable materials. Redemption rates have remained stagnant in CT for decades, resulting in fewer redemption centers, more contaminated recycling streams at our transfer stations, more trash in our parks and roadsides and increased costs for municipalities. We need to do better.

Healthcare Enrollment
It’s that time of year to enroll, or change, healthcare plans. If you need help determining what plans are available to you, or how to sign up for them, Health Pathfinder can help you. See the graphic below for when you can stop by their Cornwall location to get help guiding you through the system, and what materials you need in order to enroll. Thanks to a grant from the Foundation for Community Health, and the organizations skills and contributions of Janet Carlson, it’s available at no charge.

News re Municipal Broadband
This week we got a court ruling which is a substantial positive step in enabling our towns to increase access to internet, through municipal broadband networks. This ruling re-affirms that the relevant CT statute means exactly what it says, which is that the space on telephone polls reserved for municipal use can indeed be used by municipalities to provide internet service to residents. We expect the ruling to be appealed, but it is a very positive development.

Veteran’s Day
Veteran’s Day this past weekend brought a variety of local events celebrating the veterans of the NW Corner.

On Sunday, Cornwall held a special ceremony at the General Sedgwick memorial honoring veterans of the Civil War. This ceremony was made especially powerful due to the work of Cornwall native Spencer Marko, who, as part of an eighth grade project begun last school year, created a plaque honoring Cornwall citizens who fought in that conflict. We owe congratulations and gratitude to Spencer for seeing a need (no such plaque existed in Cornwall) and following through on the skilled work necessary to make this happen and leave behind a memorial that will abide in Cornwall for future generations.

On Monday, the Torrington Veterans Memorial Committee held another beautiful and moving ceremony honoring our region’s veterans, including Sergeant Major Jim Matthews, who spoke powerfully about the sacrifices veterans make every year for the benefit of all of us. We owe them our gratitude every day.

Around the 64th District
On Saturday, November 9, North Canaan celebrated the opening of the Railroad Museum at the old depot, now home to Great Falls Brewing Company. The museum is filled with fascinating and historic memorabilia and is worth a visit, after which you can have a tasty drink at the brewery. Congratulations to the many who worked hard, over many years, to make this a reality.

While at the opening, I was ushered into an unfinished office on the second floor, and was shown the meticulously crafted town diorama below of one of our towns in the early twentieth century.

On Wednesday, November 13, I attended the annual meeting of the Working Lands Alliance (WLA) the statewide force for farmland preservation efforts in Connecticut. In addition to the fabulous food, provided by CT farms every year for this event, the occasion was particularly meaningful because it celebrated the long tenure of Terry Jones as WLA Chairman, who was stepping down after fifteen years of the “fierce cooperation” for which he, and the WLA, are known.

Upcoming Events

  • Saturday, 11/16 at 6:00 pm: a special screening of Saving Private Ryan will be held at the Warner Theater, with all proceeds to benefit Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
    • SPECIAL NOTE: The DAV is looking for drivers to help them get veterans to the services they need. If you think you might be able to help, please reach out to Richard Pescatore at

Sunday, 11/17 at 11:00 am: The town of Sharon will hold a forum on internet service at Town Hall, taking a look at what the needs are, how they might be met, and how provision of improved internet will affect citizens and businesses in town.

Internship Opportunity
Since 1969, the Legislative Internship has sought to offer college students the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge about how state government works, through direct experience in the legislative offices of the Connecticut General Assembly (CGA). Expanding beyond our traditional program, the Digital and Communications Department (DCD) of House Democrats are offering a Marketing & Communications internship. For more information, check out the flyer below.

It is my honor to represent our district. I look forward to hearing from you about the issues raised in this newsletter, or any other topics you think I should know about. You can email me at or call me at (860)-240-8585. Thanks for reading, and I wish you a safe weekend.